Covid-19 Relief Response

Response to the covid-19 crisis, March-August 2020

In March 2020, as the country went into a nation-wide lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of informal workers were stuck at their workplaces and several thousands tried to make way to their place of origin (hometowns and villages in other States or within the same State), leading to an unprecedented crisis. In cities, civil society groups and NGOs began relief efforts. We note here some of the initiatives that INHAF was a part of:

1) Surakshit Safar Sewa: This was an initiative of INHAF and MASHAL to help the urban poor, migrant laborers and those in need to travel back to their respective homes who were stranded due to Covid Pandemic lockdown. The initiative included setting up a helpline to build a database of those wanting to go back home, providing them an opportunity to ventilate their anxieties and difficulties and also to ensure that they do not lose hope. Considering that when we conceived the initiative the train fare was not waived off we thought it prudent to provide journey tiffin and hygiene kits to select category of travellers which included pre and post natal care mothers, mothers with toddlers, senior citizens , ailing family members and students from needy families.

PDPL is an exploratory study initiated by INHAF in Pune to involve the urban poor in defining the poverty line themselves. Pune has several dynamic unions and organizations of the urban poor who are sensitive to the impact that the poverty line has on their entitlements, benefits and development. With these member-based unions and organizations of the poor as partners, INHAF piloted the Poor Defining Poverty Line Initiative in xxxx, inspired by the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights that conducted a similar study in 6 Asian countries between 2013 and 2014.

This work is seen as a special contribution to the poverty debate as also a rethink on the strategies, plans and projects for poverty reduction. It is possibly one of the first such efforts in the country’s urban sector and is meant to:

a) highlight the need for and the virtue of the bottom-up way of defining and measuring poverty, a subject of national concern and development planning and action (the poor who live poverty are well equipped to define it )
b) develop and demonstrate a participatory, consultative and community engaging methodology in doing so
c) contribute to demystification of the poverty line, at the top and the bottom, at the government and the city level
d) highlight the known deficiencies and inadequacies of the existing definition and the measuring method—the uni-dimensional, nutrition-based poverty line—to ascertain that poverty is a multifaceted and multidimensional phenomenon. 


Surakshit Safar Sewa organised to facilitate travel of 2300 workers by train, 500 people by bus and 160 people by air to various States. This included setting up a helpline, building a database and providing tiffin and hygiene kits for travel.
First Train:       19 May 28, 2020 (Kalyan to Jharkhand), 700 Migrants Travelled back to their home town

Second Train:  21 May 28, 2020 (Kalyan to Jharkhand), 1500 Migrants Travelled back to their home town

Supportive humane police machinery whose cooperation was the most critical element especially all the police officers and the administration of KDMC and Thane.


In addition to this, MASHAL and INHAF provided relief to distressed workers in the city:
7300 dry ration kits distributed
22,000 people served cooked meals
PPE kits distributed to hospitals, police stations and ward office sanitation workers

For over a week Global Rights Foundation – GRF and its volunteers sustained the migrant’s morale through meetings and interactions and by distributing 400 dry ration kits.

Ms. Nita Parab, a resident of Ulhasnagar since three decades pains taxingly arranged for water bottles and dry snacks.

12 girls found freedom from forced flesh trade and have reached their home state.

Our transgender community found an opportunity to pay back to the city that has housed us for so many years.

Committed volunteers reached  out to community leaders, gathered details of migrants to support their  travel, patiently responded  to their queries, helped the police to control and monitor the  crowds  and distribute dry snacks and water as the people  waited at the bus depot for more than 5 hours  and engaged in distribution of dry ration kits.

2) Relief work in Ahmedabad: CISHAA or the Citizens for Shelter Alliance in Ahmedabad (a coalition of organisations) initiated by INHAF and other organisations including Aajeevika Bureau, Centre for Development, Centre for  Labour Research and Action, Childline Ahmedabad worked together to collect donations and provide assistance to migrant workers, slum dwellers and urban poor in need of help during the lockdown. 

Round 1: 2413 kits distributed
Round 2: 1838 kits distributed
Round 3: 1838 kits distributed
10,000 biscuit packets donated to children by a private firm.
Kits contained: Wheat flour, Rice, Oil, Lentils, Tea powder, Salt and Spices.
In round 1 and 2, Beneficiaries were identified through community leaders and distress calls and
In round 3, there was a focus on: families with single women, senior citizens, families with physically/mentally challenged members, Families without ration cards.
Activities included Beneficiary identification, vendor identification, and community leader identification, Acquiring quotes, Transferring money, Distribution and tracking through NGOs or community leaders.